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As people and homes become more connected, the need for WiFi connectivity continues to increase. This is where having a quality WiFi router, sometimes called a wireless router, becomes essential. Which WiFi router you choose will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your coverage area, the number of devices connecting, and the types of devices connecting to the router. Not only are they easy to install, they can help provide WiFi coverage throughout your home and ensure lightning fast connection speeds.
How to shop for a WiFi router
Knowing which router is right for you isn’t always easy. WiFi standards and router technology have changed frequently over the years. Some of the most important factors to keep in mind when shopping for a router are WiFi version, speed, coverage, and price. As you shop, you may see routers listed as compatible with previous WiFi standards, such as 802.11 a, b, g, or n. While you may have some older devices that still use those, the latest standards, 802.11ac and WiFi 6, are the ones to keep in mind. They are backward-compatible, and the latest standards offer the fastest speed and best coverage.
What to look for in a WiFi router
WiFi 6 is the newest standard and brings faster speeds and support for multiple devices, but the routers tend to be more expensive. The previous 802.11ac routers are no slouches when it comes to speed and coverage, with some ac routers showing comparable speeds and coverage to their WiFi 6 cousins. 802.11ac routers are established and offer a wider selection of price points. To further confuse things, the next standard, WiFi 6E, is around the corner with supporting devices due later in 2020. 802.11ac routers will give you the most bang for your buck, while WiFi 6 routers will future-proof your tech but could hurt your wallet.
A lot of factors can impact router’s speed and coverage. The size of your home, the types of walls, where you place the router, what other electronics you have in your home and what you pay for from your internet provider can all impact your speed and coverage. It doesn’t help that router manufacturers muddy the waters by labeling their routers with theoretical maximum speeds like AC2600 or AX6000. For speed, it helps to know the maximum speed you are paying for from your ISP. For coverage, look to the size and number of external antennas. If you have a larger home or need wider coverage, consider a mesh system, which has a main router and satellite devices that spread your WiFi signal evenly.
Whether you’re looking for a no-frills, single band WiFi router or a full-fledged dual band (or even tri-band!) model to handle an entire family’s streaming and gaming needs, we’ve got the best WiFi router options to fit your needs.